Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Money of Indians in Swiss Banks Rose Over 50% in 2017

The Swiss National Bank building.

The amount of money deposited by Indians in Swiss banks increased by over 50 percent to reach Swiss Franc (CHF) 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017. The rise of 50.2 percent marked a reversal of the downward trend that was visible during the last three years, PTI reported, citing the official annual data released on June 28 by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the central banking authority of Switzerland.

The report sparked criticism of the Narendra Modi-led government in India, with Opposition parties taking to the social media to raise the issue.

The Indian government, meanwhile, said that it will collect all the details regarding the black money being deposited in Switzerland. “We will have all the info and if anybody is found guilty, strict action will be taken,” Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in New Delhi, NDTV reported. “Today, nobody has the guts to save money outside the country. And it has been possible only because of the government’s hard work,” he added.

Switzerland has agreed to boost cooperation with India to fight the black money menace, Goyal said. “Agreement between India and Switzerland has this. From January 1, 2018 till end of accounting year, all data will be made available. Why assume this is black money or illegal transactions?,” he was quoted as saying.

The total funds held by all foreign clients of Swiss banks increased to CHF 1.46 trillion (Rs 100 trillion), recording a rise of about 3 percent in 2017, the report added.

The total amount held by Indians directly with Swiss banks was CHF 999 million (Rs 6,891 crore) last year, which included CHF 464 million (Rs 3,200 crore) in the form of customer deposits, CHF 152 million (Rs 1,050 crore) through other banks and CHF 383 million (Rs 2,640 crore) as “other liabilities” such as securities at the end of 2017.

The amount held through fiduciaries or wealth managers was CHF 16.2 million (Rs 112 crore), according to the SNB data. The corresponding figures in 2016 were CHF 664.8 million and CHF 11 million, respectively. In 2016, Indian money deposited in Swiss banks fell by 45 percent to CHF 676 million (about Rs 4,500 crore), which was the biggest yearly drop recorded since 1987, the year Switzerland started making the data public.

In 2015, the amount held by Indians was CHF 1,217.6 million (over Rs 8,000 crore), while it was CHF 1.8 billion in 2014.

This is the third time in about a decade that Indian money in Swiss banks has seen a rise. In 2006, the amount was at a record high of CHF 6.5 billion (Rs 23,000 crore), which fell in the later years. It saw an increase in 2011 (12 percent), and then in 2013 (rising 43 percent to CHF 2.03 billion). The maximum increase recorded before 2017 was in 2004, when the funds rose by 56 percent, the report added.

The rise of Indian money in Swiss banks in 2017 comes amid increased government claims of crackdown on black money being hoarded by Indians abroad.

The total assets of Swiss banks in India, however, dropped for the second consecutive year in 2017 to CHF 3.2 billion, marking a decline of about 18 percent. This does not include tangible assets like real estate and properties, the news agency reported.